Nature Connection and Earth Ways


The Circle Way Project, now called "Earth Ways," is an organization started in 2010.  The project aims to help community members learn more about and interact more meaningfully with the wild natural world surrounding us, and with our local human community.  Through outdoor "Earth Ways" programs for kids (afterschool programs, homeschool groups, camping and backpacking trips), earth skills workshops and nature walks for all ages, African drumming classes for kids and adults, wilderness summer camps, full-moon drumming and dancing gatherings, Wild Harvest Campouts, craft nights, and many other activities, we provide a format for consistent and quality interactions with nature and with each other for local kids and adults.  

We are a grassroots organization aimed at helping our local community connect with our local wildlands, with each other, and with ourselves.  We currently have no funding, and our only source of income is the money we receive directly from participants in our programs, and donations from those with the desire and resources to help support what we are doing: learning and helping to walk the Beauty Way.  Your donations and support are greatly appreciated!

Donate to Andrew Dahl-Bredine ~ the Gila Circle Way Project


Spring into Summer, always changing, always circling 

"When we get out of the glass bottles of our ego,
     And when we escape turning like squirrels in the cages of our personalities,
And get into the forests again,
     We shall shiver with cold and fright.
But things will happen to us,
  So that we don't know ourselves;
Cool, undying life will rush in,
    And passion will make our bodies taut with power.
We shall stamp our feet with new power,
    And old things will fall down.
We shall laugh,
      And institutions will curl up
                  Like burnt paper."
       - D.H. Lawrence

Budding Moon Update 

Spring is officially here, and it feels so good!  Our last Full-Moon Community Dance was wonderful...more-and-more becoming what I envisioned when we started.  The extra energy brought by the big group of teenagers from Aldo Leopold was such a nice addition to the experience.  We're looking forward to the next one on the 17th of April.  Our Natural Tooth Care Class led by Doug Simons was a huge hit...I loved seeing the jaws drop at the new and profound information being shared, leading to so much new empowerment for people around the issue of their own teeth!  You can read our longer newsletter here, and see new things that are going on, plus read a long article about the idea of "Nature as Culture."  We're very excited about our new "Native Eyes" Outdoor Group for Teenagers, starting in April.  It's been such a balancing addition to my life to be able to spend more time with that age group again this year, and I'm looking forward to more of it in the beautiful outdoors.  All the best to everyone.  More soon!

Cold Moon Update 

 Brrrr...this moon started out with some of the coldest nights anyone around here can remember.  All kinds of problems with water pipes, gas heating, electricity, etc., reminding us of how fragile this whole infrastructure really may be.  That's still not the reason to uncover and remember how to live with the Earth though....the reason for that is that's it's so much more beautiful and enjoyable!!!  Who needs electricity!?
  Haha.....ANYway....normal temperatures seem to have returned to the Gila/ Silver City area, and we are all enjoying the sun, and gearing up for our annual trip to Wintercount.
What is Wintercount?  You gotta come on out and find out!  It's an annual primitive skills conference and gathering out in the desert near Maricopa, AZ (an hour or so south of Phoenix).  300 - 500 people come together there to camp out, share Old Way skills, play music at night, and recreate a village atmosphere for a week every February.  This will be the fourth straight year we'll be heading that way, having had wonderful experiences there every year so far.   A very family-friendly, welcoming environment for people from all walks of life who are interested in ancestral skills and living with the Earth.  More information can be found at their official site at   
   For the Circle Way Project, our kids' stuff and our drumming events and classes have been going great.....keeping some of us very busy.  We've had a couple months off now from the skills workshops and one month off from Doug's Plant Walks.  We will schedule a new plant walk with Doug either the last weekend in February or the first one in March, and we'll put together a skills workshop for March as well and get it all back rolling again after a little wintertime inward journeying.  
   Our Full Moon African Squaredances have been plugging right through the winter, still drawing out a good chunk of the community to dance with us every month.  This month's event will be on the 20th of February at 2:30pm at the Big Ditch Park, just below the Silver City Food Co-op.  Come on out and see what you're been's a great time, every time.  
   Enjoy everyone.  We'll also be starting up a new 7-week session for our West African Drumming Class in early March.  Call if you're interested  (575) 519-9232.

Toward the Circle Way 

Hello.......and the moon is climbing high and toward fullness.  What a beautiful week it has been in the area.  Much warmer and sunny, with snow still on the ground in the canyons, ravines, and north faces.  We are slow getting back in gear after the holidays.  Drumming is back up to pace, with a wonderful new class, and our full moon community dance coming up this Sunday, the 23rd of January.  We are really encouraging dancers to dress up in any kind of costume, and help transform the event into something that can really help people get out of their normal way of being (usually intellect-dominated for most of us) and into a deeper state of presence and communal frequency.  We'll have face paint and some things like that on hand.  We're also hosting a costume-making get-together the day before the dance: saturday any time between 10am and 2pm at our house (1104 W. 7th St. in Silver City).  Bring anything you have and we'll all be putting costumes together, together! 
    On an exiting note, a few of us locals here had an opening meeting the other day to throw out ideas and see who may have interest in ideas of communal living and/or communal business ventures.  The true goal of the Gila Circle Way Project is to help us transition into a living experience of the Circle Way, which means living in a clan/ tribal circle where co-parenting, communal living and support, and heart/truth sharing are core pieces of a more whole expression of human culture and society.  Exactly how, where, and when this might come about is a the hands of the mystery.  But that is the goal.  Any folks interested in knowing more, sharing more, or exploring ideas and possibilities can contact me and get in on our next council circle. 
    New fun stuff with young folks in the area includes a new Brazilian Capoeira elective course with Aldo has been wonderful so far, with the teenagers in the class blowing my mind with their enthusiasm, openness, and strength of character.  And a West-African drumming class with the younger teens of Meadowhawk School.  Our weekly homeschool outdoor adventure group continues to be a source of beauty, fun, and inspiration for myself and the kids in the group.  I give thanks....  Looking forward to seeing folks come out for the drumming/dancing.  
    Expect a plant walk with Doug again in February.  January turned out to be too busy.  Also check out Doug's next weekend workshop in Ajo, Arizona this weekend.  You can contact me for how to find out more about it.  We'll have another skills workshop in February too.  Also a caravan to the wonderful annual primitive skills gathering in Arizona called Wintercount ( the week of Valentine's day.  Let us know if anyone wants to join us for a week of great people, unsurpassed learning opportunities, great music, and village camping.  Respect to all our relatives all around us, near and far.                       

Climate Change and how it is affecting those in direct contact with their food in southern Mexico 

A very interesting newsletter from my parents, Phil and Kathy Dahl-Bredine this month, who live and work with the indigenous Mixtec people of Oaxaca, Mexico.  If you think biofuel is a good idea, here's some interesting angles on how new biofuel projects are adversely affecting our Mother Earth, reminding us that the real "green living" is reducing our energy needs and simplifying our lives.  And as Doug says, the funny thing is that we think we will be giving up so much, sacrificing in order to "save the planet," when in actuality, the changes toward a simpler, more connected life enrich our lives and make them so much more beautiful and full!  Hasta "el buen vivir" siempre!  Toward the Beauty Way.  
   Read the newsletter here

Living Well, not Living Better: A Bolivian Viewpoint 

My father, Phil Dahl-Bredine, who works with indigenous people of the Mixteca Alta in rural Oaxaca, Mexico, recently sent me this article written and distributed by the Bolivian Delegation at the UN in April 2010.  What a well-put article, speaking of the idea that is gaining strength in Latin America of a return to "the good life," or a life of "living well," which stands in stark contrast to our western idea of "living better."  This Latin American movement calls for an end of what we know as development, saying that the idea of constant economic or material growth is completely unsustainable and also undesirable on this earth, both for the peoples of the earth, and for our Pachamama, our Mother Earth herself.  You can read the whole article here.  Calling for a rejection even of so-called "alternative energies," as they still are based on a model of increased growth and consumption.  Powering down!  Yay!  My kind of idea  BolivianConcept-of-Living-Well.doc

A Heavenly Day for Basketmaking 

Maybe the most beautiful day of the fall saw us gathered on our front lawn making yucca baskets with the few folks who showed up for the Basketmaking Workshop.  What a lovely time, and a feeling that nothing could be better: sitting with good folks out on the beautiful Mother Earth making baskets together with the gifts of the plants.  Just like OOOOOLD times.  Some people came at the end, after we were done, and others too expressed interest in doing the workshop, but couldn't make it.  Let us know if you're interested, and we'll put together another one soon.  Fall on. 

Halloween Plant Walk a success! 

Well, we avoided runners with the All Souls Trail Race, averted confusion with the bat-house builders, and made our way through the parade preparations down to the beautiful San Vicente Creek Trail at the south end of Silver City, and had a nice walk on warm and sunny fall day.  Doug shared his unique and powerful take on the gifts and uses of many of the common plants of our area, including a number of "invasive" plants and trees.  Some of these plants offer some of the best medicines Doug has come across.  The interesting discussion came up again over whether or not these plants "should" be here, and Doug offered his unique and humble opinion about these plants, for all of whom he has a deep respect and reverence, and posed the question: who are we to know what they are here for, and what they might be seeing or doing, what important role they might be playing?  It's a tricky question, but it does open my mind up again to the observation I make over and over again.  The observation is this: that so far, our modern human minds and all their understanding and knowledge of the natural world and what's best for it have seemingly been wrong almost 100% of the time in the past 100 years or so.  I do think we are slowly gaining some wisdom around it, but it is an interesting thing to ponder: do I know more about what's best for this ecosystem than the plants that choose to grow here?  Who knows? 

October 25th update: No firemakers and many dancers! 

What a beautiful weekend it was, with the cold winds out of the West bringing us the new season.  Our highly anticipated Firemaking workshop with Doug and I was suprisingly attended by zero people...until our families showed up, and we all laid around and played with the kids and drilled up a fire.  We were baffled at the fact that no-one at all signed-up.  We'd love some imput on this one: did the cost of the workshop scare people off?  Did the word not get out well enough?  Too many events going on this weekend?  Any ideas or feedback would be welcome. 
  The full-moon drumming event, on the other hand, was wonderfully attended, and was super rewarding and enjoyable for me and seemingly for everyone there.  The rhythms came out sweetly, all the drummers performing really well, and people were really dancing up the Big Ditch!  The Yankadi squaredance was especially fun and entertaining, where the Silver City folks really translated this traditional West African courting dance into something to behold!  And Lexa's Moribayassa ritual dance to help move us all past little Grace's difficult burns on her feet was a powerful one.  We look forward to continuing every month on the weekend closest to the full moon.  Next month's should be on the 21st of November.  I'll post it when the time, place, etc, are all for sure.  Let us know if you think we should do it at the same place, or a new one. 
     Thanks to everyone who came out, all the drummers, all the families, the drum students, the dancers, the birds, the wind.....  and a special thanks to my elder Andrew Fiedler who actually birthed the idea of this kind of regular drumming event.  Wopila.  Looking foward to Doug's Plant Walk this weekend on the San Vicente Creek trail.  Lots of stuff going on this weekend...come on out and meet more of our plant relatives before it gets cold and many of them disappear!

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